His prayers were long and droning to my young ears, but I knew, even as a teenager, that his heart was made of gold. And I knew my own heart would swell when Fay Hobbs’ voice would begin to quiver as he prayed a blessing for “our young people, the future of our church.” That was me…and my siblings and cousins…and Fay’s children and grandchildren. We were the pride of our little country church, their bright hope for the future. Sometimes I would wonder what that meant and how I would be the future of our church and when my role would unfurl.

I think about that prayer, looking back on more years of not being a young person than the few moments I belonged to that group…and how I – we – have, indeed, become the future of my church. Here we are, defining what the Adventist church looks like in the twenty-first century. We are a product of Fay’s prayers – and the prayers of so many like him, even as we invoke the same prayers for those following close behind us.

Am I living the future that Fay, in faith, looked forward to, though he has long since been laid to rest? How have I, and am I, shaping my church? How do I answer my children’s queries about where our church is headed when they feel so disconnected to its future?

The future is always an unknown, as are God’s ways and work. For whatever reason, He rarely divulges the future in a sweeping diorama…more often, just a step or two at a time. Our place in that future seems tenuous, transitory, or worse, non-existent. Yet I find we mostly understand in retrospect, from the vantage point of time and distance.

I’m fairly sure Fay would be surprised and confused at the future he prayed about. His world, there in a little corner of middle Missouri, was probably less complicated than what my children and grandchildren face. However, I didn’t cease to be the future of my church when Fay’s generation left the scene. We continue to grow into that role as we define and refine Christ’s image in this world today, the future of yesterday.

There is reason to be hopeful for our future, however unnerving and ambiguous. Fay’s prayers were answered for my generation and by the same kind of faith, I believe my prayers will be answered for the next.

God is sovereign…all the time.
All the time…He is sovereign.

Ann Halim, editor, eWeekend newsletter for the College View Adventist Church in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Republished with permission.